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How Can You Know If You Are Pleasing God (John 8:21-30)?
“I tidy up my room,” says Joseph, 5. “People need room to walk so they don’t trip. I’m not hurting anyone and that makes God happy!”
Whether you are 5 or 50 years old, cleaning your room is always a challenge. It reminds me of what Phillis Diller said, “Housework can’t kill you, but why risk it?”
“You have to be nice to your neighbors who are everyone you see, or also your enemies,” says Sammy, 8.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God, but the second greatest (love your neighbor as yourself) is like the first (Mark 12:29-31). Have you ever wondered how loving your neighbor is like loving God? Also, does this include a neighbor who blasts his stereo or revs his engine at 1:00am?
Loving your neighbor and loving your neighbor are two different things. God never commands us to love our neighbor. I don’t have to like my neighbor, his loud music, or his reckless behavior to love him. All I need to know is that God loves my neighbor.
I know from the Bible that my neighbors are made in God’s image, even though that image is tarnished by sin. Yet Christ suffered and died for all my loved ones, even those who openly rebel and clench their fists in his face.
Do I have the ability to love my neighbor as myself? I don’t.
As a Christian, there lives in me someone who knows exactly how to love my neighbors. The apostle Paul spoke of this heavenly inhabitant as “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Not only is Christ in him the hope of future glory for every Christian, he is also the hope of reason in this present life.
Let’s be real. There are people who don’t like you and there’s not much you can do to change their minds. In some situations, loving your neighbor may mean refraining from retaliating against your neighbor’s intentional behavior in order to get under your skin.
God is pleased when you let him love people through you who you don’t even like. It’s easy to love people you like. The stench will make you rely on God’s power and resources.
Only God can love stinkers. After all, he loves you and me. We are all stinkers before God. Our area of stench may differ, but that does not make the stench any less offensive to a holy God.
“I know I’m pleasing God when I set the table for dinner, when I help my mom with the shopping, and when I do my chores,” says Avery, 7.
Yes, even the mundane becomes an opportunity to please God when you live a life empowered by the Lord. This is how the apostle Paul described life under the open sky: “And whatever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
Think about this: Sometimes people think that pleasing God is just as big as hearing God’s call to serve Him on a faraway mission field. Most of the time, pleasing God comes in the form of the ordinary. If you live life in front of the open sky, it usually turns into the unusual. Live to please God, not just trying to get through the day.
Remember this truth: Colossians 3:23 previously quoted.
Ask this question: As a Christian, have you allowed the inner presence of Christ to transform your ordinary world into a wonderland full of opportunities to please God?
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